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Old 08-12-2022, 02:08 AM   #1
RMcG
 
Drives: 2008 Yaris Hatchback
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 222
Headlight on reminder buzzer/alarm stopped working

My headlight on reminder buzzer stopped working recently (after 14 years of working). I would like to fix the problem by replacing the buzzer or some other fix or do some kind of work around so that I am warned about leaving headlights on.

In a thread on this forum entitled Audible alarm when lights left on

CTScott, who is one of the most knowledgeable posters on this forum, wrote:

"The buzzer is easily accessible on the back side of the PCB for the cluster. It is a 5VDC piezoelectric buzzer"

Can anybody please confirm the fact that that buzzer can be accessed and removed from the back side of the instrument cluster?

I have not been able to confirm that this is the case, despite doing quite a bit of research including in Chilton's online manual for the Yaris. And another poster in the same thread wrote: "the piezo is built into the gauge cluster IIRC.. you're pretty much screwed.. "

Thank you,

R.

Last edited by RMcG; 08-14-2022 at 12:01 PM. Reason: To clarify thread topic based on new information
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Old 08-12-2022, 11:52 PM   #2
RMcG
 
Drives: 2008 Yaris Hatchback
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 222
I have investigated and thought more about the problem with my buzzer/alarm. I have attached a Chilton's wiring diagram that suggests the buzzer is indeed part of the Multimeter/Instrument cluster. (But I have trouble reading & understanding this diagram -- there seem to be features of both circuit and system diagrams.)

The key reminder alarm still works, so the problem does not appear to be the buzzer or the door switch. I think it's the same buzzer/alarm for the key and headlight alarms. The switch that senses whether the door is opened or closed still works. So I think the problem appears to be the sensor that detects that the key is no longer in the ignition (when the door is open and the headlights are on). (I am assuming it's the same buzzer/alarm and door switch that is used for both the key and headlight reminder to come to my conclusion it is the sensor that senses the key not being in the ignition that is the problem.) I have attached the page from the owner's manual that describes the operation of the headlight and key reminder alarms for those that may want to refresh your memory.

So I will try to investigate the sensor that detects that the key is not in the ignition some more. I will check and see if there is an OBD code that can detect a malfunction of this sensor.

Thanks,

R.

Key&LightReminderWiringDiagram.pdf

Headlight&KeyReminderAlarmOwnersManual.pdf

Last edited by RMcG; 08-14-2022 at 12:02 PM. Reason: to add the edits in italics
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Old 08-15-2022, 03:00 PM   #3
sh0rtlife
 
Drives: 2007 5dr canadian import
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: pacific north WET
Posts: 351
obd wont tell you anything about the headlight warnings or door sensors

funny tho i want to find this buzzer just to "hush" it some..im not sold that they are the same unit due to the change in sound for headlight key and seatbelt/seat weight
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Old 08-15-2022, 05:58 PM   #4
RMcG
 
Drives: 2008 Yaris Hatchback
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by sh0rtlife View Post
obd wont tell you anything about the headlight warnings or door sensors

funny tho i want to find this buzzer just to "hush" it some..im not sold that they are the same unit due to the change in sound for headlight key and seatbelt/seat weight
Thanks sh0rtlife,

I checked with O'Reilly's Auto Parts who does free OBD checks, but their OBD checks only work if the check engine light is on.

Regarding the buzzers being the same for key and headlight, I didn't really think about whether the sounds are the same or not until the headlight reminder failed. So I can't compare them, although based on my memory, which is fallible, I seem to think they sound the same or similar.

I think I am going to call a dealer and repair shop and just ask what they think it would cost to diagnose and fix the problem.

Some workarounds: 1) Buy a Car Battery Starter, like this one or another one.

Or 2) a simple EASY, Headlight reminder buzzer install DIY would probably work. You wire to the fuses in the fusebox. In thinking about this, if you trace the flow of current, and connect the buzzer wires to the correct "sides" (+ or -) of the fuses, you should not defeat the purpose of the fuses. In other words, you can make the current that flows through the buzzer also flow through the fuses. Since the buzzer probably does not draw much current, this should also not effect the car much. This buzzer for example, draws only 16 mA (milliamps) at 12 volts

Both of these workarounds probably cost less than a shop repair of the problem. Edit: I just called one reputable non Dealer repair shop and they said only a Dealer could diagnose & repair this problem. And I called two local Toyota Dealers and the diagnostic part of the job alone would run about $200.

Thanks,

R.

Last edited by RMcG; 08-15-2022 at 06:21 PM. Reason: To add cost of repair
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Old 08-16-2022, 07:05 PM   #5
RMcG
 
Drives: 2008 Yaris Hatchback
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Pacific NW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RMcG View Post
Thanks sh0rtlife,

Some workarounds: 1) Buy a Car Battery Starter, like this one or another one.

Or 2) a simple EASY, Headlight reminder buzzer install DIY would probably work. You wire to the fuses in the fusebox.

Both of these workarounds probably cost less than a shop repair of the problem

Thanks,

R.
Just to give an update, I have concluded the best thing to do is buy a battery jumper starter. They're cheaper than the $200+ it will cost to get a dealer to fix the problem. But there are some caveats: you have to worry about a jumper starter's operability at the extremes of temperature, see this Consumer Reports article.

There are many other online articles to guide a purchase of a jumper starter. Here are some: a Popular Mechanics article and a CNET article

Regarding the other workaround, I looked at the fuses under the left dash (with a volt meter connected to a ground) and there is one 10 amp fuse, called TAIL that powers "on" (i.e., 12 volts) when the headlights (and other lights) are "on." But I could not identify a fuse that would work as a ground, in other words, is powered "on" when the ignition key is "on," but "off" when the ignition key is "off." So I don't see how I can use the fuse box strategy I cite above. I have a base model, 3 door hatchback and it may be that there is an empty slot that would work as the "negative" fuse. But I don't have the time right now to identify it.

There is another DIY method described here on youtube by Julian Edgar the author of the book Car Electrical and Electric Systems, which is in the public library here. He uses the overhead light as a "ground" for his method. It may be possible to do something like that with the Yaris using the Front Door Courtesy switch that turns the overhead light on and off (depending on whether the driver's door is open or closed). But that would require taking some of the indoor paneling off the car and I don't have time for that right now, even though Chilton's information in the library here describes how to take paneling off the inside of the car.

Here's a youtube video by somebody who did such an installation on a Toyota. It appears to be an older Toyota. Something like this makes a whole lot more sense than paying a dealer hundreds of dollars, especially for the type of people who read this forum.

Any comments from anybody else, including perhaps using the headlights on switch on the steering column as part of a DIY solution will be appreciated.

Thanks,

R.

Last edited by RMcG; 08-16-2022 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 08-19-2022, 06:09 PM   #6
RMcG
 
Drives: 2008 Yaris Hatchback
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RMcG View Post
Regarding the other workaround ( Headlight reminder buzzer install DIY ), .....
......... I don't have the time right now .......

There is another DIY method described here on youtube by Julian Edgar the author of the book Car Electrical and Electric Systems, which is in the public library here. He uses the overhead light as a "ground" for his method. It may be possible to do something like that with the Yaris using the Front Door Courtesy switch that turns the overhead light on and off (depending on whether the driver's door is open or closed). But that would require taking some of the indoor paneling off the car and I don't have time for that right now, even though Chilton's information in the library here describes how to take paneling off the inside of the car.

Here's a youtube video by somebody who did such an installation on a Toyota. It appears to be an older Toyota. Something like this makes a whole lot more sense than paying a dealer hundreds of dollars, especially for the type of people who read this forum.

Any comments from anybody else, including perhaps using the headlights on switch on the steering column as part of a DIY solution will be appreciated.

Thanks,

R.
Just as an update, I plan to pursue one or more of the workarounds described above on youtube when I have more time. A dealer repair of $400 to $500 + is too much I think. In the meantime I will buy one or more portable car jump starters to carry in my car.

I checked out the book Car electrical & electronic systems by Julian Edgar. It really just mostly has basic information in it, nothing particularly relevant to the headlight on reminder alarm problem. Julian Edgar does refer to books by Robert Bosch Gmbh for more detailed information on automobile electrical systems and there are 4 such books in Amazon, 3 of them look like they might be helpful, an older (2007) edition of one of them (Automotive Handbook) is in the library here:

1) Bosch Automotive Electrics and Automotive Electronics: Systems and Components, Networking and Hybrid Drive (Bosch Professional Automotive Information) (September 24, 2013) by Robert Bosch GmbH (Author) , Robert Bosch GmbH (Editor)

2) Automotive Mechatronics: Automotive Networking, Driving Stability Systems, Electronics (Bosch Professional Automotive Information) (August 25, 2014) by Konrad Reif (Editor)

3) Bosch Automotive Handbook by Robert Bosch GmbH | Feb 19, 2019

4) Diesel Engine Management: Systems and Components (Bosch Professional Automotive Information) (July 18, 2014) by Konrad Reif (Editor)

Thanks,
R.
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Old 08-21-2022, 02:46 PM   #7
sh0rtlife
 
Drives: 2007 5dr canadian import
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: pacific north WET
Posts: 351
since you seem to have some usefull skill and a good idea of what your looking at and doing

i would hit up a pick n pull and just go start tearing a car apart in the yard and find the buzzer..start with the cluster and see if its in there

i have litteraly gone out to many a yard over the decades not to buy anything but to simply "learn" what i cant get an answer for...this includes doing engine swaps....so yes by all meeans dont feel bad for breaking parts along the way in the learning...this might provide you with the exact insight you need to actualy fix the OE problem
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Old 08-21-2022, 06:15 PM   #8
RMcG
 
Drives: 2008 Yaris Hatchback
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by sh0rtlife View Post
since you seem to have some usefull skill and a good idea of what your looking at and doing

i would hit up a pick n pull and just go start tearing a car apart in the yard and find the buzzer..start with the cluster and see if its in there

i have litteraly gone out to many a yard over the decades not to buy anything but to simply "learn" what i cant get an answer for...this includes doing engine swaps....so yes by all meeans dont feel bad for breaking parts along the way in the learning...this might provide you with the exact insight you need to actualy fix the OE problem
Interesting suggestion, sh0rtlife. I never heard of pick n pull, but there are some near the Seattle area.

When I get some time, as I said previously, I think I will look into one or more of the workarounds described on youtube that I cited above, or some combination of those workarounds. I also may try the approach that you (sh0rtlife) are suggesting of trying to diagnose and actually fix the OE problem.

Thanks to everybody for their input.

R.
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Old 08-22-2022, 04:24 PM   #9
sh0rtlife
 
Drives: 2007 5dr canadian import
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: pacific north WET
Posts: 351
i "think" theres a 08? yaris in the pick n pull on hwy 99 up your way..arlington?..i just know its neer bothel

take a look at "row52" as you can check what pick n pulls have what close to you

o know ive got a couple fresh kills down here in mine i need to scout
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Old 08-24-2022, 11:57 PM   #10
RMcG
 
Drives: 2008 Yaris Hatchback
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by sh0rtlife View Post
i "think" theres a 08? yaris in the pick n pull on hwy 99 up your way..arlington?..i just know its neer bothel

take a look at "row52" as you can check what pick n pulls have what close to you

o know ive got a couple fresh kills down here in mine i need to scout
Thanks,

R.
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